Celebrating Juneteenth

June 19, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

I invite us all to join in a celebration today of Juneteenth. This year, perhaps more than in other years, it seems particularly important that we acknowledge this special day and all that it means for us.

Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery in the United States. The date refers to the day in 1865 — more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued — when African Americans in Galveston, Texas first learned of their freedom.

The recent violence against Black people reminds us that we are still fighting racism in this country. We have come a long way since 1865, but it is clear that in 2020 we still have much work to do to combat racism and bigotry.

I recently announced a new initiative to address systemic racism on the Brandeis campus. Because I recognize that it is time to move beyond discussion and study, I have asked for a set of action plans to be submitted to me by September 1. I look forward to working with all of you to convert recommendations in those plans into tangible change on our campus.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to justice, equity, and inclusion.